Organic Standards for Cannabis
By Rolling Up
The current state of the cannabis industry has little oversight on what is being consumed when smoking or ingesting cannabis products. The demand for organically grown products is growing. As more people are gaining knowledge on the harms that pesticides and chemicals pose in their consumption the need for regulation and certification on products is more important than ever.
Unfortunately, when organic cannabis products are in demand certifications are not as widely available due to federal restrictions. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is simply out of the question. The USDA is in charge of marking every fruit, vegetable, and consumable product organic but questions around cannabis are limiting their resources to implement the same standards. In order for fruits, vegetables, and consumer products to be marked as organic they need to be 95% natural and free from chemicals or pesticides. If the same were done for cannabis, consumers would feel much relief and business owners who are already growing organic cannabis will be able to surge their business.
As legalization reaches states, organic certification programs are being introduced by private companies. Similar to the standards of the USDA, the Cannabis Certification Council (CCC) is a non-profit organization with the goal of informing cannabis customers on #WhatsInMyWeed. The campaign highlights the connection between organic farming practices for food and urges consumers to demand the same transparency for cannabis.
According to a 2016 Steep Hill report, 84% of California cannabis contains pesticides, most of it being a chemical called Myclobutanil, a fungicide used on grapes which can be easily washed off, but the same cannot be said for cannabis. Another harm involved is the other chemicals that are released such as hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen chloride once met with smoke. Since the cannabis industry is still relatively young and business owners are adapting to new practices, cultivation and production are having little oversight. Lack of standardization for fertilizers and growing practices slip through the cracks.
California rolled out a plan in 2020 to roll out a novel organic marijuana program. This new model could possibly generate new business for health conscious consumers and charge them premium for the products. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has released information to establish comparable standards to the cannabis realm. It’s required to start by January 1, 2021. Having the expertise from the agricultural department will be a tremendous benefit to the industry as a whole.
Since there are more arguments to use cannabis as a medical practice over a recreational one, organic certifications and practices need to be put in place for consumers. The focus on safe and safety will be at the forefront of the discussions.